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Declaring war on vintage cars

From  April 17, the Philippines will be the only country in the world that discriminates against the owners of vintage cars.

In the LTO’s Administrative Order No. RPC-2016-033, officially known as “Registration and/or Recording of Vintage Motor Vehicles,” owners of vintage cars will be required to register their vehicles with the LTO—whether they will be used on public roads or not.  

Not only that, it also states that registered vintage cars will only be allowed on public roads on weekends and during holidays.  

In the order, which comes into effect on  April 17, the LTO defines ‘vintage’ as any car manufactured prior to 1975.

Needless to say, owners of classic cars are crying foul describing the order as absurd and ridiculous and suggesting that LTO officials are totally out of touch with reality.

Top Gear Philippines  legal columnist and Land Rover enthusiast Robby Consunji says the order is unconstitutional.

“The means employed in the new LTO memorandum is not necessary for its avowed purpose. It is a deprivation of property or the right to use the vintage motor vehicle; it is oppressive to the vintage motor vehicle owners; and the LTO enforcement drive encourages and entails a selective and arbitrary roadside apprehension,” he said.  

Meanwhile, many are scratching their heads wondering why the LTO has decided to pick on vintage cars at a time when there are many more important safety problems with motor vehicles on the roads today.  

What is even more mind-boggling is the LTO’s decision to exclude jeepneys, buses and cargo trucks, yet says the anti-vintage car order concerns cars’ roadworthiness and emissions  

To the vast majority of motorists, elderly, smoke-belching jeepneys, buses and cargo trucks are the real problem both in terms of pollution and traffic congestion. Yet, the LTO is excluding them from this order.  

There is a vast difference between a classic vintage car kept in tip-top condition and an old banger held together with sticking tape and string. Heaps of junk should indeed be banned regardless of their age.  

Most vintage car enthusiasts keep their much-loved vehicles in excellent shape. Owners like American Rick Eisenhauer says his 1958 Willy’s M3-B Military Jeep is in better working condition then 75 percent of vehicle on the roads here.

The Philippines has a strong vintage car culture—more than most nations in the region. Up an down the country, classic icons of the past are being lovingly restored by teams of devoted enthusiasts.

But at a stroke, the LTO has declared war on these links to motoring history. The new order will almost certainly discourage the ownership and preservation of vintage cars.

In my own country, the UK, cars of any age are permitted on our roads any time provided they’ve passed what is known as an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test for roadworthiness.  

If such a test were introduced here, probably 99 percent of jeepneys, buses and cargo trucks would fail, but more than likely most vintage cars owned by enthusiasts would pass!

One can only hope that one day commonsense will prevail at the LTO.

Robert Harland is a British national and vintage car enthusiast. He is based in Bacolod City.

Topics: Everyman , vintage cars
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